An Effective Treatment for Lower Back Pain (that Isn’t Pain Pills)

While the country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, often due to failed treatment for chronic pain, there are some interesting and maybe surprising treatment methods that can help reduce the reliance on pain pills and actually help treat the problem rather than the symptom. Take lower back pain, an incredibly common ailment that will strike over 80% of people at least once in their lives, according to data from the NCBI. Maybe you’re one of them and aching for pain relief – with good reason, lower back pain can be miserable! Yet an under-utilized treatment method may also help provide improvement, potentially without the need for pain medication: physical therapy.

According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) data, over 60% of back pain patients are prescribed opioids. As a stand-alone, this does nothing to address any of the underlying problem/s and only temporarily masks the pain. For an acute injury, this might make more sense; however, those suffering with chronic pain need long-term solutions. Luckily, physical therapy is an appropriate treatment for lower back pain – whether it’s a new injury, has returned over time, or you’ve lived with it for months on end.

Although it’s counter-intuitive to anyone who has lower back pain, activity is important. It may feel better to sit on the couch or lie in bed, but you aren’t doing your musculoskeletal system any favors! After a thorough assessment and conversation, your physical therapist will develop a custom treatment plan designed to treat your unique condition and meet your needs. It may include:

Posture, form, and movement training – you may learn how to sit, stand, lift, and even sleep so that you’ll protect your lower back and speed healing.

Manual therapy – your PT may perform stretches and movement designed to help restore flexibility, improve movement, increase range of motion, and more.

Provide education – your physical therapist is a resource who can offer valuable information and insight into your treatment and prognosis. S/he will also guide you in what you should or shouldn’t do as you work toward recovery.

Instruction – your physical therapist will likely give you some “homework” that consists of exercises you perform on your own. S/he will instruct you on the proper way to do them, how often, etc.

Lower back pain is just one part of the opioid picture; however, by utilizing a physical therapist you can potentially improve your condition and work toward recovery without the need for pain medication. Think you have to visit your doctor first? Think again! You can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist; they’ll work with both your insurance and your doctor if a referral is needed for future visits. Your physical therapist is a highly- trained specialist who can assess if you need other treatment for your lower back pain, and make those recommendations as well. The bottom line: physical therapy can benefit those looking for lower back pain relief and also may reduce or remove the need for pain medication!

Tired of your lower back pain? Ready to try something different to get back on your feet? It’s time to call Body One Physical Therapy. We’re a locally-owned practice with four locations serving all of Central Indiana: North Indianapolis, South Indianapolis, Fishers, and Zionsville. Our providers work with a wide variety of clients of all ages and activity levels, and are highly experienced in everything from post-surgical recovery to lower back ailments. Stop suffering and start living your best life – call Body One today!